A Tribute to Chicken Nugget Day

chicken-nugget

Ahh, Chicken Nugget Day. A widely celebrated event on campus. The line is long, but the reward is worth it: 4 (or if you’re me, 8) little crispy tidbits of chicken-y goodness. With the amount of hype around these fried morsels here, you’d never guess how much opposition there is to their production methods and the ethical parameters surrounding it. First thing’s first, let’s talk about the “mystery ingredients” found in chicken nuggets. According to the National Chicken Council , “ALL ingredients, including nutritional information, must be stated on the product’s label.” So, if you’re buying in the store, read the label. All ingredients, and some processing information, can be found right there on the package if you look. If you’re worried about “mechanically separated poultry”, it’s required to be listed in the ingredients. Additionally, the purpose of mechanical separation is simply to remove usable meat from the carcass to prevent unnecessary waste, not to grind in icky stuff like eyeballs and gallbladders (don’t knock it until you try it, eh?). Don’t believe me? Check out Snopes’s thought on the matter, and do me a favor and read up on “pink slime” while you’re there. And if you’re worried about McDonald’s extruding chicken paste and “gluing” it together to form your Happy Meal, worry not, as MickeyD’s has used only white breast chicken meat since 2003. While we’re on the topic, “chicken nugget glue” isn’t even a thing. The common enzyme, Transglutaminase, a safe and tested binding agent mainly used in beef products, isn’t even used in chicken nuggets. They can stick together just fine on their own, thank you. The next myth to address is that retired egg laying chickens are used for chicken nuggets. My Animal Science teacher would be ashamed of you…yes, retired egg layers are sent to meat production after their egg-producing time is over, but if they made it to your McDonald’s chicken nugget, you would have a much harder time chewing it. So, thankfully, they are mainly used in processed foods such as pot pies and soups. FINALLY, this is for you, Mom, THERE ARE NO HORMONES OR STEROIDS IN YOUR CHICKEN. Shall I say it again for those in the back? Hormone and steroid use has been prohibited in the poultry industry for over 50 years. And on top of that, your chicken is antibiotic-free as well. While it may have been treated with antibiotics for health purposes, you’re even less likely to see that nowadays after the recent Veterinary Feed Directive (we’ll get to that later). BUT, all that being said, all chicken has to have the antibiotics out of its system by the time it enters the processingplant. Sorry if you just paid twice as much for “antibiotic-free chicken”. After all this, I hope you appreciate your greasy little tid-bits even more than you did before, and you’ll have no guilt as you throw some elbows in the chicken nugget line. Until next time,

 

Abby

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